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Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One Box Cards – September 15, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

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Product Description

This is a collection of 100 postcards, each featuring a different and iconic Penguin book jacket. From classics to crime, here are over seventy years of quintessentially British design in one box. In 1935 Allen Lane stood on a platform at Exeter railway station, looking for a good book for the journey to London. His disappointment at the poor range of paperbacks on offer led him to found Penguin Books. The quality paperback had arrived. Declaring that 'good design is no more expensive than bad', Lane was adamant that his Penguin paperbacks should cost no more than a packet of cigarettes, but that they should always look distinctive. Ever since then, from their original - now world-famous - look featuring three bold horizontal stripes, through many different stylish, inventive and iconic cover designs, Penguin's paperback jackets have been a constantly evolving part of Britain's culture. And whether they're for classics, crime, reference or prize-winning novels, they still follow Allen Lane's original design mantra. Sometimes, you definitely should judge a book by its cover.

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Product Details

  • Cards: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Box Pos edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141044667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141044668
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 2.5 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Timothy McCormick on February 9, 2011
Format: Cards
I saw "Postcards from Penguin" at a bookstore, and as a longtime reader of Penguin paperbacks, I wanted to like this set; but on closer inspection, I found it to be strikingly... monotonous.

The book description promises "100 postcards, each featuring a different and iconic Penguin book jacket," but this is not borne out by looking closer. In fact, a very large portion of all covers are nearly the same, a few basic templates with just the title & author names changed. In this dreary expanse, you thrill to see any graphic element, *anything* that departs from the template. I find it puzzling, actually, that the publishers could put together such a large collection with so *little* visual interest. I had the feeling that if I bought this set, I'd end up discarding half or two-thirds of the cards, because they wouldn't be interesting enough to send to anyone nor keep for myself.

The Penguin design schemes excelled (excel?) at separating the Penguin line from contemporaneous paperbacks, and at unifying all titles in its line, but lined up, many of them look exactly the same. I'd say, pass on this postcard set, unless you have particular nostalgia for certain covers, or perhaps you are playing witty games with your friends by sending them cards with insinuating book titles. Or, you might be thinking Pop Art, wishing to frame a grid of the cards, all the same except for the small change in title -- like Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans. That could work.

If you look at surveys of Penguin's design, such as Phil Baines' "Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005", you see that Penguin's design work was rather more diverse and creative than shown in these cards, which seem to largely reproduce Penguin covers from the 1940s' and 50's.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L. Prestoza on November 6, 2010
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
Most of the book covers printed in these postcards are vintage covers. Some of the covers are plain while others are downright bizarre. I don't get why Penguin back in the days chose book covers that do not relate to the story whatsoever but one of my theories is that they just wanted to confound their readers enough so they would buy their copies again and again. The titles range from the mundane such as "Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps" by Claude Goodchild to the iconic "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess.

This product would definitely appeal to bibliophiles and book cover aficionados. The postcards showcase the evolution of Penguin styles. It's pretty interesting to see the penguin in every Penguin book change in appearance over the years.

I'm a member of a site that sends postcards around the world, so if you send postcards as a hobby, this product is for you. It's way cheaper than buying postcard books.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy on September 27, 2010
Format: Cards
Some of my fondest memories are of time spent haunting used bookstores searching for good reads. One thing that always drew my attention was the distinctive covers of Penguin books; I always knew they would be good books at a great price. This collection states: "In 1935 Allen Lane stood on a platform at Exeter railway station, looking for a good book for the journey to London. His disappointment at the poor range of paperbacks on offer led him to found Penguin Books. The quality paperback had arrived."

Declaring that 'good design is no more expensive than bad', Lane was adamant that his Penguin paperbacks should cost no more than a packet of cigarettes, but that they should always look distinctive. Those distinctive covers are known around the world. This collection was walking through a history of my own love of books. I had read 27 of the 100 books in this collection and 23 of them with these covers. It is a wonderful collection for any booklover.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cailny on October 16, 2010
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
I just love these and for the amazon price, they are a total steal. You're getting a ton of postcards of book covers here and although they are simple, they are awesome. Some are kind of plain, while some have more illustrated covers but there are some really famous titles in here as well as some funny ones. Very cute and chic!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on July 3, 2012
Format: Cards
I'm an avid reader and a huge fan of Penguin books, so I was eager to purchase this postcard collection. I was a bit worried that some of the reviews indicated that most of the postcards are repetitive. However, that worry was unwarranted. About 1/3 of the postcards do have the iconic Penguin cover, consisting of their Penguin mascot and color-blocking, usually orange and white or green and white (a few are blue and white). However, even these postcards exhibit a fair amount of variety. These "typical" style postcards are primarily classic titles (e.g., The Great Gatsby, Black Mischief) or quirky, off-beat selections, such as a Penguin Handbook entitled "Soft Fruit Growing." Also, even though these covers appear somewhat similar, they come from different time periods (the 1930s to the 1980s), and it's interesting to see how the Penguin and other design elements evolve over time.

The other 2/3 of the postcards vary widely, with gorgeous or unusual graphics. Each is a tiny work of art reflective of its era. Although I will probably send some of them, I actually plan on using most of the cards to decorate my home office. The postcards are on quality card stock and have been printed beautifully, so they are appropriate for framing. The cards are boxed in a cardboard container that is designed to look like a Penguin book; I was impressed with the quality of the case and the obvious care that went into designing the entire package. I can't imagine where else you could purchase 100 postcards of this quality for this price. It's one of the best buys I have found in ages!
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